Andrea Pirlo Will Lean on Arturo Vidal's Support at Juventus This Season

Jack Alexandros Rathborn@@jackrathbornContributor IIIAugust 5, 2013

TURIN, ITALY - APRIL 22:  Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo #21 of Juventus FC celebrates scoring the third goal during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and AS Roma at Juventus Arena on April 22, 2012 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Andrea Pirlo's impact at Juventus during the past two seasons has been immense, making the Bianconeri's controversial move for the 34-year-old—considered past his prime by Milan, who allowed his contract to expirecompletely justified, after a pair of scudetti to return the Old Lady to the pinnacle of Italian football.

There are signs of decline, though, with several games last season where Pirlo was not controlling matters with the usual swagger that he exudes—the horrendous back-pass in the friendly with the Los Angeles Galaxy that gifted Robbie Keane a goal is also cause for concern.

Given that Antonio Conte will field three central midfielders, worries should be put on hold for the time being, as the Azzurri international will have some outstanding help in Juve's engine room.

Arturo Vidal will be the key man that Pirlo will look to lean on throughout the season, with the Chilean able to drop deep to either pick up possession short from his regista or track runners to nullify off-the-ball movement made by the opposition.

El Guerrero is in the prime of his career and can stake a claim to be the world's most complete midfielder, so with Pirlo declining to a degree, the former Leverkusen star will need to be on hand to prevent Pirlo from being isolated by the opposition.

In his prime, Pirlo had the legs to dash away from opponents who chose to intensely press the space in which he usually dictates proceedings.

As recent as his first season with the Bianconeri, that sharper burst of pace would allow Conte to position Claudio Marchisio and Vidal a little further up the field, stretching the opposition due to Pirlo's ability to accurately distribute passes over a longer distance.

Without the reliability to shift the ball and dribble past an onrushing opponent, Pirlo will need a different way to make his way further forward, particularly in transitions.

If he is able to combine with Vidal in a deeper area and collect the ball further forward, Juve can still rely on his creativity in the final third, which will appeal as strongly as ever now that they have a genuinely strong centre-forward to provide service to.

Fernando Llorente is so adept at pulling toward the far post, and Pirlo will be equally capable of delivering those floated passes over the top for the Spaniard to attack, which means Vidal will probably be the man to tuck in when Pirlo ventures forward.

Even though Vidal is more than able to contribute in the final third himself, possessing a lethal shot and an eagle eye for a pass, by adding discipline to his game, he can take the mantle of Juve's most important player this coming season.

Vidal's seemingly endless stamina will allow him to maintain his excellent record of goals and assists, but by shadowing the lateral space around Pirlo, he can make an even more telling contribution.

Juve might possess greater fire power with the signings of Llorente and Carlos Tevez, but with the extra need for service, Conte must be weary that his back three are not exposed by the opposition with counterattacks.

With the three-pronged attacks becoming ever more common across Europe, to leave Pirlo one-on-one with an opponent at this stage of his career could be very costly at some point during the season. Including the opponent that might dispossess Pirlo, the opposition might be left with a four-against-three situation.

So Vidal must look to monitor Pirlo's position this season, but with their ability to combine with snappy passes, this should not limit the contribution that either can make going forward.

Whoever releases the other into the space ahead must now look to hold fire instead of darting ahead to join the attack. This way, Juve can still maintain Europe's most complete midfield, and a deeper foray into the Champions League awaits.

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